The Arrogant Impediment.

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It wasn’t November 9th, but 10th. It was November 10th. The day Donald Trump destroyed the democratic party. The result was unlike what so many analysts and supposed “smart people” had predicted; the result did not fit into the desired reality posed by democrats, or so-called progressives.

Progress comes to a halt when the obsession with milestones trumps (got you there) the needs of the present. Outcomes can be manipulated, molded, and aspired to. In science, this attitude is considered “bias.” In philosophy, it is considered bad reasoning. In literature, conflation. In art, pretentiousness. In politics, a strong campaign.

In politics, a strong campaign.

The last one should be difficult to reason. How can a campaign be strong if it’s more obsessed with milestones than the needs of the moment in which it exists? How can a campaign possibly connect with people who do not care about milestones, but about the present moment they find themselves in, one of possibly great stress? Can it be that such a campaign is not strong, but weak? Can it be that supporters of such a campaign cannot see the irony they have collectively contributed to, both with their attention and individual energies?

Impediments are plenty in politics. There are checks and balances in our representative democracy. Local elections to counter state elections to counter nationwide elections; the winners looking out for their constituents interests, rights, ideas, desires, ad infinitum.

Certain leaders sway support based on deals they made in the past. Faustian bargains that were drawn up and agreed upon, sometimes with such a speed that those involved fail to see the Faustian essence; because it could never happen to them, they are too intelligent to let it. They cannot be bested. They cannot fall under the spell. No, sir. They’re too good to fail.

Arrogance.

On March 15th, Bernie Sanders spoke to an unprecedented crowd after an astounding set of primary victories. Unprecedented and astounding for a politician with socialist leanings. A politician whose campaign was funded by independent donations that averaged 27$. A politician running against a candidate that had, for nearly a quarter of a century, rubbed shoulders with the American Elite in Arkansas and New York, and then finally, the Athens of American Politics, Washington D.C.  And not only had this candidate rolled with the big boys and girls on the international stage as a Secretary Of State, they also fomented the possibility of achieving a milestone just by running for president: to be the first Woman elected to the American Presidency.

Her supporters were almost unable to stay lucid under such a thought. To be a part of history. To tell their children and grandchildren, or future historians, that they were part of the passionate and devoted group that broke the glass ceiling, once and for all. “To be a part of…”

“To be a part of the first…”

These are the words that burned into their minds. The phrase they muttered each night before they closed their eyes and began the never-ending dream implanted into them by a campaign that inadvertently impeded progress in the United States of America.

For it was Hilary Clinton who could not help but incessantly promote herself as the candidate that could fix the troubles of everyday Americans. Troubles that she could not possibly understand because: how does a former first lady and career politician know anything other than doing what is necessary to cling to power? What does a career politician know of the common man except tell them what is good for them and then ask (sometimes demand) for their vote?

Unlike Hilary Clinton’s campaign – whose message eventually became so hackneyed that it relied on a reality tv star’s reactionary grunts and moans for purpose -, Bernie Sanders speech on March 15th was filled to the brim with a strong message that resonated with the disenchanted, disenfranchised, and ignored; the same people that eventually voted for President Elect Trump (that was difficult to write), or third party candidates.

The Democratic National Committee could not help but take the Faustian bargain: Hilary over Bernie. The bargain failed to include two other very important and powerful parties: the American Public and the American Voter. The former had sided with Bernie, the latter, Hilary. The former could not become the latter. It was the DNC and their purposely convoluted primary process that made it impossible for the public’s voice to be heard. Imposing restrictions and sticking by them despite the obvious impediments. Thus, creating a result that gave them the confirmation they needed to move forward with the plan that had been in place since the coronation of the Obama Presidency in 2008. A Presidency that was made possible by his winning the nomination, tearing it from the awaiting hands of the then-frontrunner Hilary. Instead of continuing her campaign, she suspended it, falling in line to let Obama stride forward. But she would not leave empty-handed. After achieving a historic victory, Obama chose her to be the Secretary Of State, where her misuse of email servers would make it that much easier for a future Donald Trump campaign to ride off into the sunset with a dubious victory.

Coupled with emails, the alienation of the American Public and their inability to become primary voters, the DNC only added more fuel to the Trump fire by favoring Hilary every step of the way. The DNC’s servers were hacked, emails were stolen and posted on WikiLeaks, the information revealing enough about the inner workings of the DNC that it made it – again – that much easier for Trump’s campaign. What was revealed? The Faustin Bargain.

Pick Hilary and you will be winners. Pick Hilary and you will have all the support you need. You will have the presidency. And when the outcome is in doubt, do what you must. Work with journalists, provide them access for writing positive stories about us. Make sure your opponent isn’t heard or seen on Television screens saying appealing things to the masses you’ve chosen to actively ignore.

But it is not Hilary who is the devil here. It is the DNC that sold themselves out for a place in history and the power that comes with it. It was the DNC that became the arrogant impediment to democracy.

They chose the power of a Milestone over the voices of the People. Hilary represented the Milestone, Bernie, the people.

Hilary was their candidate. Bernie, the peoples.

It was the manipulation of data, of journalism, of people and outcomes. Poll numbers were stretched. Voters denied. Ideas rejected. Candidates ignored. All this was done to achieve the milestone. “At all costs, achieve the milestone”, they must have said this to themselves every night.

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Who Will Survive in NYC??!!!

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TimeOut Magazine recently published a report that came with a very well detailed diagram of average rent prices, borough to borough, neighborhood to neighborhood. The shock from seeing very imposing numbers floating above much sought after real estate locations can put any New Yorker, no matter how tough, into a spiral of melancholic proportions, equal only to something apocalyptic. The number: 3,100$ a month. For what?… A one bedroom…

If we save now, maybe the condo is still possible – but in what reality? I’ve been watching quite a lot of Rick and Morty lately, an adult cartoon whose forays into cosmic horror have left an impression. I imagine-like something out of Rick and Morty- a separate reality, apart from this one, where 9/11 never happened and the 2008 housing crash wasn’t real life but a smartly written film starring superstar actors and written by Aaron Sorkin; the smooth talking ivy league dialogue cascades out of characters mouths as Manhattan is destroyed by, by, by, something-something metaphor for financial doom – maybe a Godzilla type monster but dressed up in a suit and tie; and the briefcase, of course, by the side. Don’t forget its New York.

In current reality, there is a serious disparity in real estate prices and average wages. This goes for most major cities, but the fact remains: who can afford to live here?

Maybe you can head off to Texas, where a recent dip in oil prices has created a property buying free-for-all that has many ranchers enticed and putting out. Down there, as stated in a recent article on NY Times Financial Blog DealBook, wealth is measured in acres. If that is so, then how wealthy can someone be when they can only barely afford a one bedroom? And in NYC we measure with square feet… imagine if we used acres?

How much per year will this one bedroom cost you? Let’s do some math; okay, flip open the phone, pick the calculator, insert 3,100 and multiply by 12, don’t forget to double check – math is about precision, lets not forget – and you get: $37,200 a year. What’s median income in NYC? Go to google and type in “average median income NYC,” and you’ll be greeted by a nicely placed text box holding the following information: median household income is $50,711.

Current proposition: use around 70% of your yearly salary to get yourself a one-bedroom apartment, and hope, maybe pray, that the rent isn’t raised within your first year.

Second: live with a roommate.

Third: Go to Texas and buy some land, and a horse or two, and a ten-gallon hat, no, an assault rifle made out of plastic.

Fourth: Go make some more money.

Another question must be asked: with all this new construction, namely in Brooklyn – Downtown has been coined an “architectural hotbed”- who will be able to afford the new apartments?

Don’t forget Queens, the borough of dreams; and princesses. Also a hotbed.

But for who?

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The New “Total Game”

In the modern era of soccer, Tiki Taka has dominated. The style of play relies on possession-based attacking and makes for a vivid demonstration of the power of possession. Tiki Taka ruled Spanish soccer during 2008-2012 and FC Barcelona, its main operator, was consistently deadly and humiliating to its opponents. Five to nil, seven to nil, even eight to nil; these were common scores after a match-filled weekend.

El Clasico, a game between historical rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, showcased this Catalan dominance. Under manager Guardiola they would heftily defeat Real Madrid by an impressive margin of four goals, at times even more. FC Barcelona became the club, a force to be reckoned with in and out of Spanish soccer.

The empire began to fall when Jose Mourinho became manager of Real Madrid (2010-2013). He applied a counterattacking game with an emphasis on rugged defense. This new style of play exposed Tiki Taka’s flaws, eventually making El Clasico once again an even affair, but not immediately. Barcelona was still victorious in Mourinho’s first Clasico in 2010. His Real Madrid fell to a disheartening 5-0 score. Barcelona’s possession percentage was a whopping 66%, compared to Madrid’s less impressive 34%.

A seemingly flawless Barcelona was proven fallible when in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final; Real Madrid defeated them 1-0 in extra time. This achievement wasn’t regarded highly for long because a week later, the two teams met again in the Champions League semi-final. Mourinho’s tactics, perceived negatively and cynically by many, failed to stop Barcelona’s style of play, and Real Madrid was once again defeated by Barcelona.

The following season, FC Barcelona’s dominance was finally shown to be mortal and the end of their reign seemed near. Real Madrid won the title for the first time since 2007-08. While FC Barcelona seemed to be on its way out, Spain’s national squad was still altogether legendary. In winning the Euro Cup in 2012, they achieved a feat no other national team had been capable of before: successive European Championships. They owed this accomplishment largely to Tika Taka. This style of play afforded Spain 51% of the possession in the Euro 2012 final against Italy, ultimately embarrassing the Italians and winning 4-0.

Nearly everyone expected the reigning champs to do well in this year’s World Cup. Yet Spain’s first game saw them lose embarrassingly 5-1 to the Netherlands. World Cup fans will remember the terse final between the two countries in 2010, in which cynical tactics, a mirror image of Mourinho’s Real Madrid tactics, led to a dramatic final in which the Spanish won. In the 5-1 drubbing, Spain maintained 57% possession, but only scored once, off of an arguably generous penalty kick.

Alas, it was at the 2014 World Cup that Tiki Taka laid down and died, and the classic style of soccer regained its muscle, influence, and fans. Teams such as Colombia, Algeria, Belgium, and Costa Rica were darlings. The exposed, old powers seemed to fizzle out rather quickly. Portugal, Spain, Italy, and England were early victims. Spain, a former champion turned to disappointment early on when it ultimately failed to escape the first round.

Like in every World Cup star players are discovered, coveted, and then the transfer market applies its value. During the summer of 2014, a few weeks after the World Cup ended with a Mario Götze goal and a sad-faced Lionel Messi rocketing a shot into Brazilian stands, Real Madrid bought James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos to the Bernabéu for astronomical price tags.

The end of Spain’s dominance brings about the end of this “Modern Era of Soccer.” With the acquisitions of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, Real Madrid have bought players whose styles of play could be more suited to a different type of game, one that focuses less on possession and is more rigid with its positions. Unlike the recent past, this burgeoning system places the responsibility on the players working as an engine in which everyone has their own, necessarily unchangeable part. In this new style, Real Madrid, the reigning Champion of Europe, is vying for dominance.

Spain reinvented possession-based soccer using a number of players whose abilities were great; but whose style of play was highly similar and in some cases, a bit one-dimensional. Xavi Hernandez made beautiful passes. Andres Iniesta provided the incisive dribbling. Yet even they  (along with the rest of the team) had interchangeable roles. Their style of play was easily discernible in its consistency. One mantra it seemed was to make sure the passes stayed on the ground. There was no true center forward because players did not have such rigid positions. Emphasis was on the “total game” that had worked up for so long but the recent World Cup exposed this version as flawed.

At the World Cup, this modern system hardly worked for Spain but it did indeed work for Germany. Germany was successful because the players who graced the pitch had experience in dynamic systems were also capable of playing a classical system. Notice, Miroslav Klose scored two goals. He is a classic forward. Contrast that with Spain’s Diego Costa, who is also a poacher, in the style of Klose. Spain’s insistence in trying to keep possession of the ball above all did them no good. They fell to the Netherlands, then to Chile, and then they went home early.

Germany played a more “total game,” that is they mixed in the modern style but also took from the classical. To the soccer laymen, they mixed Spain’s possession-based and interchangeability with more classical aspects of soccer, such as players who stick to their roles.  Spain could not fashion a response. The negative tactics of Mourinho’s Real Madrid plus the attacking style of Barcelona combined in Germany’s winning squad. The “new total game” came to be.

The darlings played different systems with different formations. Costa Rica played a 3-5-2. Colombia played 4-2-2-2. Belgium played with a true center forward in Lukaku. What had been effective before the “Modern Possession-based Era” has become relevant once again. It does not matter if a player can make a large number of fancy and slick passes, and still manage to keep the ball; what matters is if they can fit into this “new” system.

This new game will take aspects of Tiki Taka and re-appropriate them using tactics from other places. At least, that is what the acquisition of James Rodriguez and Toni kroos signals. We will see more players from the “darling” countries. We will likely see a new set of super stars spring forward, and their style of play will not be like that of a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Elite teams will experiment, change, and alter their ways. The next few years of soccer will be innovative, and very interesting: unlike anything that we have seen before. The new “total game” is being made before our eyes.

 

 

 

Civil Liberties Commentator Glenn Greenwald Praises BC stance on Civil Liberties

Brooklyn College played host to outspoken journalist and self proclaimed “Civil Liberties Extremist” Gilbert Greenwald, on Monday March 4th in the maroon room at the student center. Greenwald gave a brilliant and at times controversial lecture concerning the state of our civil liberties today under the Obama Administration.

From the podium, he stood in front of a grand crowd of students, professors, administrators  and activists. The room was filled to the brim and all eyes were on him as he opened his lecture with praise for the Brooklyn College BDS movement and their recent victory.  “I am particularly excited to be here cause of what happened with that controversy, and in particular the steadfast and courageous  and ultimately incredibly successful defense on the part of the schools president and the political science department for academic freedom” said Greenwald, the statement was welcomed by a round of applause from all who were in the maroon room. Greenwald went on to elaborate more on the importance of academic freedom, jokingly stating his relief in not having to debate an “Implacable, twisted foe of Civil Liberties.” Had the BDS movement failed in their goals, that could have been the case for Greenwald.

He continued by defining Civil Liberties, mentioning that because of it’s overuse in todays political discourse it has lost it’s true meaning. “All we really mean when we talk about Civil Liberties is the list of prohibitions that we have imposed on the government in terms of the power that they can exercise. The things that they can do to us.” Greenwald added that this definition allows us to accept state power and impose confines which the state must follow. “The good thing about this list of limitations is that they are not ambiguous, nor are they conditional or circumstantial. These limitation on state power are not waivable or dilutable based upon the groups they are applied. They are applied equally to all of us.” Elaborating on the bill of rights, Greenwald went on to further add to the absoluteness of the rules the document is made up of.

Further adding to his love for civil liberties, Greenwald enlightened the crowd of his feud with Time Magazine writer Joe Klein. Their debate lasted just over two weeks and ended after Klein admitted that their misunderstanding came from Greenwalds status as a Civil RIghts Extremist, a comment which was meant to be an insult. Greenwald took it as a compliment. Greenwald further added “The reason for that is, you cannot believe in Civil Liberties without being extremist about them. The minute that you start saying that it is permissible for the government to cross these lines in certain instances or to violate these guarantees when they are done to certain people. By definition, you no longer believe in these rights.”

As the lecture continued, Greenwald gave example after example of how these “Civil Liberties” were being ignored or eliminated. How certain groups of people in the United States today have been prosecuted for reasons that have nothing to do with their conduct. Reasons that are found to be based on their political beliefs and opinions, which the bill of rights protects. Adding that we live in a massive surveillance state that is only growing. This allows the government to gather and store massive amounts of information on todays citizens without their knowing. Greenwald then made a strong accusation of the Obama administrations and it’s “executions of foreign nationals and American citizens overseas, without even charging them with a crime.”

Greenwald stated the reasons for the publics disinterest in preserving civil liberties, the first being the state of perpetual war “A war that has no end in sight and may even last another ten years” he said. Political leaders have excessive amounts of power during wartime which allows them to do as they please. “This I think is the leading reason to why we have allowed these rights erosions to take place for so long because we have accepted with very little resistance.” He further added to his point by lecturing the crowd of the degradation that occurs in times of war. How the populous degrades it’s view of the government and eventually loses it’s trust in government and political culture.

The second reason, as Greenwald stated to those in attendance “Is the abuses of power, these violations of right are confined to one particular marginalized group. Basically Muslims or American Muslims. This is the strategy of every power faction everywhere in time and everywhere in the world when it wants to abuse rights there is so many examples. When governments want to abuse rights, when they went to expand their power the best  tactic is to single out a small minority that is marginalized and feared and disliked and target them in the first instance.”

In the following question and answer period, moments of controversy occurred. From a middle aged African American man demanding a workers revolution as the only solution to the ills Greenwald had just lectured of, and a Brooklyn College student giving an extraordinary evaluation of the failures of the  Obama administration while advertising her Socialist newspaper. The questions were nothing short of complex, perplexing and informative. Greenwald ended by answering a question regarding the future of internet freedom “One of the lessons of history is that every technology has dual potential. It can threaten to subvert the prevailing order and prevailing power factions or it can threaten to bolster them. And every time there is a new technology there is always a battle over who gets to control it because it is a instrument of power and any instrument of power will be fought over. To me the sort of front-line in the battle of everything that we are talking about is this war for internet freedom. It is the reason why I was so interested in Wikileaks and defending and protecting them from persecution. Bradley Manning and Aaron warts and other anonymous activists that are personally being persecuted. The answer is very much pending on who gets control. I always talk about internet freedom as the principle issue that young people in their twenties should be interested in because it is the key to the social change we want to occur.”

Brooklyn College student and accounting major Anthony Adames was moved by Greenwald’s lecture, but also said “It was great to hear someone like him come to campus and lecture us about all of these pressing issues. Some of what he said seemed controversial but at the same time, how could you be interesting without being controversial.”

The Rocket Reality: Life in Southern Israel

Noam Bedein is an Israeli activist who has made it his personal mission to raise awareness for the small city of Sderot. Sderot is located in Southern Israel, especially close to the border separating Israel from Gaza. This Israeli City is the recipient of daily rocket barrages which plague the lives of the residents, leaving them in perpetual fear of possible annihilation. Bedein has dedicated himself to educating the public about the “Ongoing Rocket reality” in the Middle East, the events that transpire in Sderot, he uses as his main example. He gave a lecture on Tuesday, March 12 in the alumni room at the student center

 

According to Bedein, the attention that Sderot receives from the media borders on pitiful when compared to the exposure of the other areas in the conflict zone, the land near the Gaza border, places near Sderot. Palestinian activism concerning Gaza may pop out most to us today, depending on where you may lean on the political scale the activism is either widespread or nonexistent (We, at Brooklyn College can attest to that. The BDS incident raised many existential questions). Coverage of such Palestinian activism is demanded more often, with massive political and social institutions backing their cause, along with the money, all according to Bedein.

 

Noam has seen everything he lectures about. As a photojournalist he earned a grant from the United Nations which he used to fund the filming of his documentary on Sderot. All the content showed at the lecture was collected during that time. As he showed clips of his documentary, those in the alumni room were shown images of destruction, fear and terror. Children red in the face and crying, rubbing their eyes and showing their teeth in anguish. Innocent bystanders running through smoke and bleeding from their wounds inflicted by the rockets. Highways exploding into rubble, engulfed by grand fireballs, the remnants burning away as traffic flows by. Bedein would pause the piece every ten to fifteen minutes and continue to lecture, adding personal detail to the footage, remarking on the types of people that are seen in the frame (age, occupation, details concerning family). Eventually his thoughts swooped to the topic of terrorism.

 

He believes that Hamas and other organizations of similar standing are “Terrorists” who smuggle weapons and materials from Sderot into Gaza, taking old metals and fire hydrants and other street objects with the intention of using them to build rockets, then firing the rockets at the city itself. The reason for the lack of knowledge concerning this connection in the mainstream is, according to Bedein, the unfair bias in the media that favors Gaza based groups.

 

Hamas, a questionable organization due to its status as a “Terrorist Organization” by the United States government, is one that, according to Noam “creates their own reality,” a point he hammered home to the students and professors in attendance at the lecture. The organization has expanded its influence and heavily increased its followers on College campuses. According to Noam, the BDS incident is a perfect example to point to. He also believes that followers of groups such as BDS are currently given the most attention by neutral groups in America.

Sderot was the city that was first affected by the Gaza conflict. On June 24 of 2008, it was attacked by rockets. This happened in the aftermath of the truce between Hamas and Israel, enacted on June 17, just a week before. The attack was planned and executed by the Islamic Jihad movement, a group with the same goals as Hamas: too fight against the state of Israel. This was not the first attack on the city though, as Noam stated, in unsurprised tone. As the lecture went on, Noams criticism of Hamas only grew, as did his frustration at Sederot “Having a civilian population living under rocket fire for over a decade.”

 

More material concerning the “Rocket Reality” were shown on the screen up front and passed around to those in attendance. Drawings from a local Sderot elementary school, the artists being kindergarteners. One child drew a bombardment of rockets floating just above a house, waiting to fall down to the ground. On the screen, victims of rocket fire spoke to the audience about the difficulties of their losses. One elderly man said, “I have three children, but only two are alive. Deceased before he even reached the age of ten.”

 

Noam calls the events that stage anti-Israel speakers and organizations “Hate Weeks,” then further added that “Arabs glorify death” and “Hamas teaches and trains kids to run to the rooftops and become human shields because it looks better to the eye of the camera.” The Israel apartheid week began on the day the lecture was given and was brought up by Noam, driving home the point to his followers that they must “Stand up against these groups.”

 

In the resulting question and answer period, Noam made a stunning closing speech. He said to his fellow pro-Israel acolytes that they must use the correct information in debates against opponents, and to ask the harsh questions that are never answered thoroughly. Bringing up that the “battle for Israeli sovereignty” can be used as their cheer of motivation for strong and passionate activism. “We gotta learn how to speak up!”, said Noam as the screen behind him went blank.

 

 

 

Media Conference Takes on Giant Ethics Questions.

Day one of the Global Media Conference was held at the Student Center at Brooklyn College on March 15. The conference dealt with pressing issues that are occurring today in media as well as the opinions that come about, many of which were on display for those in attendance,

 

The room was filled to the brim with students, professor and other attendees. A beam of light illuminated the panel up front where the panelists spoke to the audience; the panelists were Lynda R Day, Dale Byam, Sharlon Greaves, Christine Choy and Edna Negron. Professor Day, of the Africana Studies department at BC, opened up the panel, first by introducing the other panelists and then elaborating upon the subject of the discussion. It regarded Race, ethnicity and gender in media.

 

Christine Choy spoke first, joking about the distance she was made to travel, feeling it was “like going to another country.” Choy, a professor of media at NYU, began first with her background. A well traveled individual, she spoke of the “ism’s” she has come across in her life. Communism in China, Neocolonialism in Japan and Capitalism in the United States, further adding that all of them are pure rhetoric and should not be believed in with passion. She addressed this to the audience, especially to students. Her belief is that these “ism’s” throw off the way we see the world and narrow our vision. Choy has learned to reject globalization and preserve the locality of places, something she believes must to be respected. The pieces that she showed from her extensive documentary filmography reflected that belief. Both the films, Who Killed Vincent Chin and South to South, embodied Choy’s words.

 

Professors Byam and Greaves based their own respective presentations on the misrepresentation (or under-presentation) of African Americans in modern media. The former spoke passionately of August Wilson and “The American Experience,” it’s importance and other details regarding Wilson’s work as well as calling it “The most accurate portrayal of African Americans in American History.” The former read an essay concerning the controversy concerning Cam Newton, the NFL quarterback who was criticized for his apparent lack of intelligence by popular media. Greaves cited a political cartoon published in a widely circulated newspaper depicting Newton in a hello kitty suit. Greaves elaborated further, adding that the idea of a black quarterback being criticized as unintelligent is “a paradox.”

 

Edna Negron used her time to preach a message of empowerment to Latinas in America. She said that, “A shift has begun” and that, because of the growing population of Latinos in the United States, the groups influence has become the deciding factor in a multitude of ways. Such examples as the election of POTUS Barack Obama to a second term and the recent crowning of a new pope from Argentina were used by Negron to solidify her point. The specificity of her message was the most repeated during her time on the panel, constantly referencing “Latina’s” as a whole. To help her cause, Negron and her followers founded the wise Latina club as a way to “get the right portrayal of Latinas in the media.” The group is a fierce advocate for the destruction of Latina stereotypes in media, such as the “Seductive Latina, the Fiery Latina, the submissive latin and the Voluptuous Latina” said Negron. She finished off the lecture by preaching to fellow Latina’s that they must be the one’s to demand the change they so greatly want.

 

Following the talk on Race, Ethnicity and Gender, the second discussion began this time on post-human ethics. The discussion became dense and the panelists went on very long and continuous philosophical discussions which ended with only more questions being asked. Samir Chopra, a professor of philosophy at Brooklyn College, brought up the question of whether or not robots can have civil rights. His next example was the google defense, a violation of privacy that is defended by the fact that human beings are not the ones reading the emails of the user, machines are. Since the machines are owned by the corporations then the information transfers over to the owners. This is “one of the greatest issues that will be debated in the future” said Chopra. Lev Manovic, Sophia Remolde, Dan Munkusand John Joannone filled out the rest of the panel. Manovic invoked the importance of computers in his discussion time, adding that seventy percent of global financial trading is done on computers and if they were to shut off all at once the chaos would be unimaginable. Dan Munkus and Sophia Remolde, Graduate Students at Brooklyn College in the digital performance program, used their short time to justify the importance of machines in modern art as well technology in everyday life. Remolde stated, “Were using it to do jobs for us, look at my phone, its my memory.” Joannone, the head of the Graduate Program that holds Munkus and Remolde, focused his time on future predictions. Offering the suggestion that, ‘We should not try to do much prediction. We are in a moment where ethical and legal changes are upon us.”

Futbol Wars: Return of the Centre Forward

So, for many of those who watch soccer, talk soccer, play soccer and breathe SOCCER (at night before they go to bed after ingesting a few youtube videos of passing drills through the eyes, and commentary through the ears), the recent change in the positional heirarchy should be clear. For those who do not, but still call themselves fans anyways, i’ll divulge this to you in the following words from up in the head.

If you look at the last few years and really try to understand the football paradigm, what you can really see is one idea dominating above all others: the passing game (tiki taka). What you do not see is the classic game: the strong, burly and combative forward and his merry men. The former, a product of the new love for possession football, with perfect expression based on the perfection that was the FC Barcelona team under the man himself, Pep Guardiola. The latter, a product of the direct game and it’s familiarity to the classic fan and avid soccer history buff. In a nutshell: one is more modern and the other more classical. We can see these as different philosophy’s with the same end goal but with different means of achieving it. That goal: total victory, conquest and perfection. 

The possession game chooses to eliminate the directness which so many a time led to dominance in speed and strength. The possession game is the thinking man’s choice. Like a chess player who waits and waits, then deliberates, and then procrastinates till the precise attacking moment arrives; this is the possesion game in a nutshell. The possesor has the ball and stays in control, and maintains it’s flow at the expense of the opponents ability to garner any sort of equilibrium on the pitch. Essentially an intellectually keepaway (unlike the type which so many high school kids enjoyed before playing their JV game against equally immature high schoolers), but the beauty of the precise pass can only force the opponent to feel weary at the sight of so many perfectly waited laser-like passes. Many of which only escape the edges of their cleats by mere centimeters; leading to, what one can deem as, total frustration. 

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(Costa has made his way onto the Spanish national team despite his roots which were laid by classical, direct play)

Add to that, there is an overwhelming statistical advantage that makes most analytical minds explode with wonder. One team with over sixty percent of the possession, and the other with the rest: a mere crumbs. This results in dominance being perceived on another level. A level which the classical game can only match in one category: goals.

Yes, the possession game is a beauty to gleam at, a wonder to analyze and a nightmare to oppose, but what it enjoys in possession is totally lacking on one end: goals. Do goals win games? Yes they do…

So the classical game has again begun to regain it’s influence. This year, we have seen the rise of numerous forwards. Many of them differentiate in style, technique, nationality, and goal output. But there is on detail that is perfectly clear and cannot be disputed: their influence has grown as has their popularity. 

The Ballon D’Or went to a truly classical forward: Cristiano Ronaldo. La Liga is currently a three team league as opposed to the common two. This is all thanks to Diego Simeone and his exuberance for the classical game, and it’s need for forwards like Diego Costa. The Brazilian, now a nationalized Spaniard, even did the unthinkable: he chose to play for Spain and not his native Brazil. And here, more wood to burn under the possesion games foundation: Costa has been selected to fill the gap that the possession game has left in Spain’s line-up, centre forward. Surely this, and Ronaldo’s big victory, can serve as proof for the classic game’s renewal. 

Ronaldo defeated Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s tiki taka with his victory. Ronaldo had a sublime season, and it was all played under the, what some would call, anti-football tactics whic Mourinho imposed suring his tenure as Real Madrid manager. Mourinho’s tactics led Ronaldo down the path to winning the Ballon d’Or. Another sure-fire sign of possesion footballs demise. Couple that with the aggressive pressing and swift counter attack which was employed by the Brazilians to defeat the lowly Spaniards in the confederations cup final, and again, the classical game is more solid. 

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(The more classical player won the Ballon d’Or, and not the possesion based player i.e Lionel Messi)

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a classic forward, is defeating teams, like England, almost single-handedly. In England, possesion based teams such as Arsenal, have fallen to the aggresive directedness of Chelsea and Manchester City. In France, Monaco and PSG, both teams which play with more classicaly tinged Futbol, are sitting one and two, and find themselves in prime positions for silverware and champions league places next year. If the year ended at this very moment, Barcelona would be no closer to a trophy, and Real Madrid would be losing out to Atletico, their biggest rivals after the Catalans. 

In Germany, the possesion based teams are still winners, but is a possession based team truly capable of fielding a centre forward? I think not. The Bayern System is possesion based, but the directedness of play is greater when compared to the purists. How else does a team drub a champion 7-0 over two legs in the Champions league. The change from totaly directness to more possesion will not affect the style of the Germans, whom choose effectiveness over beauty any day. Just ask Gerard Pique after his own goal….

This year will mark the end of the possesion game’s dominance. The world cup will be a truly grandiose battle of philosophies. Expect the centre forward to earn their respect back. 

 

 

 

 

Final Review

If there is any case that can be made for why music nowadays is terrible compared to the music of the past. One only needs to listen to Nevermnind to see that the era before ours had something truly special. I love Nevermind, I love everything about it. I love the raw feeling of it. I love the ridiculous guitar feedback, the energy inside the songs, the lyrics that I relate to, the nostalgia that it gives me and that reminds me of a better time. The perspective that this music provides makes me feel complete and for so long I had stayed away from it with the justification that modern music was better. In some way, modern music is pretty good. But it is not on the level of Nevermind and will never be. Nevermind is a special record that holds a place in history that it will never lose. Tracks, such as the ones I have reviewed. Will never lose their quality and will never lose their high status in the history and world of music. Nevermind is flawless and brilliant and dare I say it… perfect. 

    Kurt Cobain is one of the greatest rock musicians of all time. This man was the definition of a true artist. He was a tortured soul who lived a sad existence and expressed himself soing what he truly loved, making music. He wrote songs that were simple and could be for anyone and he tried his best to love people. Although he ended up killing himself, he did it because he sis not want ot cheat us. He did not want to become what he hated, a celebrity. He never wanted to be rich and famous, he just wanted to play his songs and entertain people and his suicide can be seen as evidence of that. He could not find that thing that was in the way of his happiness and in the end his frustration led him to make an irrational decision. However, his music will always resonate with me as truthful and thats all that metters.

 

5/5

Something In The Way

In every great record there is that one song that is so heartbreaking and so brutally true and authentic that it moves you every time you listen to it. It’s usually the track that ends the album, the one that puts it all into perspective. In Nevermind there are many amazing tracks that are honest, true and authentic, but the emotional levels of one track in my opinion surpass all of these. Something in the way is my favorite track on Nevermind.

The beauty of Something In The Way again lies in it’s simplicity. The  most important aspect of it is the lyrics and Kurt Cobain’s voice. His voice is the main instrument and he again shows his vocal range with a clean and harmonious execution.

Underneath the bridge

My tarp has sprung a leak

And the animals I’ve trapped

Have all become my pets

And I’m living off of grass

And the drippings from my ceiling

It’s okay to eat fish

Cause they don’t have any feelings

Something in the way, mmm

Something in the way, yeah, mmm (x3)

The lyrics reference a time when Kurt was homeless. He was kicked out of his house by his mother after his failure to complete high school. In his desperation, he lived under a bridge. He places us in this position and makes references to himself. His trap has sprung a leak, meaning there is something wrong with him inside. He references his many fans who worship him and the fame itself (have all become my pets). He states his drug addiction (grass) and is clearly depressed when he feels he shouldn’t be. The bridge is depression itself and something is in the way of escaping the depression. Kurt does not know and he is simply expressing how he feels and the frustration of being caught in such a dire situation. Here is where I will always empathize with Kurt Cobain. Every time I hear this song I hear a man who is truly broken inside and cannot be fixed. When one puts this song into context, the man can be understood. This is a beautiful song because it is pure expression. An expressive song to end an amazing album.

5/5

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Smells Like Teen Spirit is a legendary track. It is also the track off this record that gives me the most nostalgia. Smells Like Teen Spirit is the track that I was first introduced to when I was younger. The opening guitar riffs still make me remember the first time I ever saw the video in my house with my cousins, all of us were laying on the couch watching it on MTV. Although this was way after Kurt Cobain had died it was still before MTV had become a complete joke. When MTV actually played music videos, and good ones at that. The most interesting thing that this track does to me is that it makes me realize how amazing Nirvana really is and how poorly music has become nowadays. There is no comparison between a track like this and modern music tracks. The other day I was on Long Island to visit my family for the weekend. My mother wanted me to take the car and buy some groceries for her which I did. I took my Ipod and plugged it into the car stereo and while I was driving I put Smells Like Teen Spirit on full blast. The feeling I had from listening to this song on full blast in the car was AWESOME. I can’t describe it any other way. Then my sister called me and told me too pick her up so I go and pick her up. She unplugs my ipod and puts on the radio. I have never been more horrified at what the radio had spit out in my life. The definition of what music is now and what music was then is totally different. The nostalgia I feel from Smells Like Teen Spirit is a feeling I get from the memories that come to mind, however, the satisfaction that I feel comes from the music itself. It’s tasteful quality, its rebellious nature, it’s aggressive and simple expression and its ability to make me feel awesome. Smells Like Teen Spirit does that to me and that is a service that I need. I need music like Nirvana and so does the world. If more people listened to Smells Like Teen Spirit, the world would be better off. Now listen to it and enjoy it cause I sure am. 

 

5/5